The smoke-free movement in Winter Park continued to gain traction with the Winter Park Housing Authority (WPHA) announcing that The Plymouth Apartments, a senior housing complex in Winter Park, are now smoke-free. Nearly 50 residents gathered for a celebration and signed their name to a poster-sized “pledge form,” signifying their commitment to honor the smoke-free policy that went into effect April 1.
The move to go smoke-free received unanimous support from the WPHA board, but it started with the residents. “This decision was resident-driven,” said Patsy Rice, Executive Director of the WPHA which owns the Plymouth, adding “the Board of Commissioners enthusiastically honored the request. The health and safety of our residents is our first priority.”
The decision for policy change at The Plymouth Apartments has been praised and supported by Healthy Central Florida (HCF) and its Healthy Winter Park leadership team due to their shared focus on eliminating smoking from shared or public spaces because of its detrimental health risks. Representatives from HCF attended the event at The Plymouth to provide resources for residents including “Kiss Me, I Don’t Smoke” buttons.
“We were very pleased to learn of the Winter Park Housing Authority’s decision to make the Plymouth a smoke-free facility,” said Jill Hamilton Buss, Executive Director of HCF. “Other forward thinking public and private housing entities across the country are doing this to improve health, reduce risks of fire and to reduce costs associated with cleaning and facility maintenance. Smoking extracts a heavy toll in every way – but especially on health, so we applaud this bold decision.”
Residents were pleased with the policy change as well, with some even expressing a personal connection to the hazardous habit. “I’ve lost members of my family that were heavy smokers and it really broke my heart because I am 93 and have never smoked,” says Addie Powell, a resident of the apartments.
While The Plymouth Apartments complex will be designated smoke-free, there will be a designated area for smoking outside the building. The new policy won’t apply to existing residents, but it will apply to residents who move in after April 1. However, many expect the facility to be fully smoke-free within a couple of years.